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On the death of Kurt Thomas Pörner and Gottfried Springer

An obituary

[Translate to Englisch:] Kurt Thomas Pörner

Kurt Thomas Pörner (2.f.r.) in front of the model of the refinery in Kongo 1974

On the evening of August 5, 2018, it became a sad certainty that our company founder Kurt Thomas Pörner and our authorized officer Gottfried Springer had lost their lives on a sailing trip in Greece. Both experienced sailors had traveled together the seas with great passion for more than 20 years. How such a catastrophe could happen will never be fully resolved.

On Saturday, August 25, Gottfried Springer was buried in his hometown Neusiedl on the Zaya accompanied by a great condolence of the population and the Viennese Pörner workforce. On Tuesday, September 4, friends and Pörner employees came to say a personal farewell to Kurt Thomas Pörner in a funeral service, and on the following day he was laid to rest within the closest circle.

Kurt Thomas Pörner - A man with visions

Kurt Thomas Pörner had an eventful life: Born in 1941, raised on deprivations of the postwar period, he opted for engineering and learned the basics of refinery plant construction at ÖMV. Soon, he moved to the booming Germany, where he worked for leading plant construction companies such as LURGI, R.M. Parsons and others and founded his first company at the age of 23.

With the oil crisis he returned to Austria with the vision to build an engineering company with all disciplines. In 1972 he founded the Technical Office Pörner. One of the first projects was the detail engineering of the refinery Congo on behalf of VOEST. Only 12 people were involved in the entire project – working night shifts and with much enthusiasm and commitment.

Over the years Pörner developed from a specialist in pipeline engineering to a universal engineering office. Soon more than 200 engineers worked for the domestic industry at Pörner in Vienna, Linz and later also in Kundl and Grimma, Germany.

In 1978 K. Th. Pörner developed the entrepreneurial courage to offer a new process for the production of road bitumen worldwide - the Biturox process developed by ÖMV. Success proved him right: Today, Pörner is globally active and is the world market leader in this sector with more than 50 licenses granted.

In difficult economic times he had always been the one who encouraged everyone to take on new challenges, who said yes to new initiatives and markets where others might have hesitated. It was not without pride that Kurt Thomas said on the occasion of the company's 45th anniversary: “If we had not been a very good engineering company, then the wind of the market would have swept us away long ago."

Based on his initiative, personal commitment and entrepreneurial values, our group of companies could continuously develop into an internationally successful engineering and plant construction company.

In 1996 Kurt Thomas handed over his life's work to the successors Andreas Pörner and Peter Schlossnikel. After that he had time to focus on his house in Spain and sailing. In the Mediterranean, he knew every island and enjoyed sailing with friends and acquaintances - until August 5.

As a benevolent observer he was happy to assist the management of the Pörner Group with help and advice to the last.


Kurt Thomas and Gottfried will remain unforgotten!



Mag. Lydia Brandtner

Head of Marketing
Pörner Group
Tel.: +43 5 05899-718